Should we say no to palm oil? Should we boycott palm oil?
There is a misconception that the social and environmental concerns around palm oil can be addressed if companies simply stop using palm oil in their products and replace it with other types of oil. However, this is not as easy as it sounds for a number of reasons:
By eliminating palm oil from the equation, demand would shift to other vegetable oils. This would increase the sustainability problems because compared to other crops, like soybean, sunflower or rapeseed, oil palms produce by far the most vegetable oil per hectare of land (4-10 times more), so switching to other vegetable oils may very well result in more primary forests being converted into agricultural land, not less.
In producing countries, millions of farmers and their families work in the palm oil sector. Palm oil plays an important role in the reduction of poverty in these areas. In Indonesia and Malaysia, a total of 4.5 million people earn their living from palm oil production. Stopping the production of palm oil would mean these people will no longer be able to support their families.
Replacing palm oil with other types of oil is not always feasible due to palm oil’s unique properties as a food ingredient. Using other oils would not give the products the same texture and taste that palm oil offers.
For sustainability reasons, it is better to switch to sustainable palm oil than to other vegetable oils.
Palm oil has many advantages. It is the highest-yielding vegetable oil crop, which makes it very efficient, and very popular. It needs less than half the land required by other crops (such as sunflower, soybean or rapeseed) to produce the same amount of oil. This makes palm oil the least expensive vegetable oil in the world.
In most palm oil producing countries, including Nigeria, Thailand, Colombia, Ecuador, Papua New Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Brazil, palm oil trade has contributed significantly to economic growth and poverty reduction.
In Indonesia and Malaysia combined, approximately 4.5 million people earn a living from palm oil. Palm oil is a unique ingredient in many products because it has great cooking properties which are maintained even under high temperatures. It has a smooth and creamy texture and is odourless, making it a perfect ingredient for many recipes. It also has a natural preservative effect which extends the shelf life of food products.
How can you make sure you're using ethically-sourced palm oil then?
By only purchasing from companies that comply with RSPO!
What is RSPO??
RSPO stands for the Round Table of Sustainable Palm Oil which sets a global standard for sustainable palm oil.
To ensure the credibility of palm oil sustainability claims, all RSPO members that take legal ownership and produce or handle RSPO-certified sustainable oil palm products need to be RSPO certified. At the heart of this process are the RSPO Principles & Criteria.
The RSPO Principles & Criteria (P&C) are a set of environmental and social standards, which RSPO member companies must comply with in order to produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). First adopted in 2005, the P&C defines what sustainable palm oil is and outlines a number of criteria that sit under the three key pillars of sustainability; People, Planet, Prosperity. When properly applied, these criteria can help to minimize the negative impact of palm oil cultivation on the environment and communities in oil palm producing regions.
This is interesting, I'd like to know morePlease head over to the RSPO website to find out more information!